Office of the Associate Dean for Equity and Justice

A student in class

Cultivating Justice in Education

The Office of the Associate Dean for Equity and Justice works to center equity, justice, and inclusion in the teaching and learning, educational research, professional service, and community-engaged partnerships that occur across the Pitt School of Education.

Our goal is to:

  • Provide resources, mentorship, and educational opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community and district partners

  • Support strategic initiatives — including the PittEd Justice Collective — that advance the school’s larger mission-vision of disrupting and transforming inequitable educational structures

  • Offer opportunities for collaboration and development in the areas of educational equity, justice, and antiracism in order to bring about a future that supports well-being for all

Meet the Associate Dean

Elon Dancy headshotAssociate Dean for Equity and Justice
Helen S. Faison Endowed Chair
Executive Director, Center for Urban Education

T. Elon Dancy II is the Associate Dean for Equity and Justice at the Pitt School of Education. As an education sociologist, he studies educational settings as sites of power and hegemony. More specifically, his research investigates the impact of institutional praxis on Black students’ academic and social outcomes. His nearly 80 publications examine sociohistorical contexts, masculinity formations, and anti-blackness as determinants of the relationships formed across schools and colleges.

Signature Initiatives

2021 School-wide Mental and Emotional Wellness Workshop Series

Open to all students, faculty, and staff, the online workshop series is aimed at improving the mental and emotional wellness of our school community. It is co-sponsored with our PittEd Justice Collective. 

Workshop Dates

  • March 1, 2021 - Managing Your Pandemic Anxiety
  • April 12, 2021 - The Invisible Injury: Understanding the Impact of Complex Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • September 30, 2021 - When Helping Hurts: Understanding the Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue
  • October 4, 2021 - I Can't Keep Calm: Strategies for Regulating Intense Emotions
  • November 8, 2021 - Beyond the Blues: Understanding Depression in African Americans

Learn More & Register at the Workshop Series webpage >>


Study Groups

Open to faculty, staff, and students in the School of Education, as well as community partners, these study groups provide an opportunity to critically study key topics in equity and justice.

Register for Upcoming Study Groups

Place, Race, and Self-Determination Study Group (Spring 2021)

Place, Race, and Self-Determination Study Group

Dates: February 5, February 19, March 5, March 19, April 2

Times: All dates are from 1 - 3:30 p.m. over Zoom.

Facilitator: Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading

Description: Our Study Group will take a deep dive into a few seminal texts that span The Black Radical Tradition, abolitionism, and Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. Dr. Sabina Vaught, Chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading, will lead the Study Group. Engagement will be framed around the following large question: How does this constellation of texts organized by place, race, and self-determination shape a meaningful theoretical dialogue for thinking about radical educational work? In the context of this constellation, we will consider the role and function of insurgency, anti-colonialism, and sovereignty through the study of structures and systems of sovereignty, labor, colonization, plantation, and carcerality as well as through epistemological, ideological, and ontological movements

Join the Study Group: Submit your application by sending a paragraph of introduction and interest to Dr. Sabina Vaught at svaught@pitt.edu.

Indigenous Knowledges Study Group (Spring 2021)

Indigenous Knowledges Study Group

Dates: February 4, 2021, February 11, 2021 February 18, 2021 February 25, 2021 and March 4, 2021. 

Times: All dates 4:30 - 6 p.m. over Zoom.

Facilitators: Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading, and Hawaeyëde:ih (David George-Shongo), Executive Director of Native American Multi-Enterprises

Description: The Study Group will explore introductory questions around Indigenous knowledges, Indigenous education, and the relation to the state education project. Rigorous and deep-rooted, Indigenous intellectual traditions are both a formalized and localized practice. The methodologies, processes, and means to share this information are often embedded in everyday life. Life lessons are functional and required, taught from birth to death, and holistic. By understanding Indigenous knowledges, the Study Group will allow us to create a better and more just world for everyone.

All participants will receive a complimentary copy of the book "The Marrow Thieves" by Cherie Dimaline (Georgian Bay Métis). You will have the book mailed to you after registering. Please read the book prior to the first Study Group meeting in February.

Past Study Groups

Abolition and Education Study Group (Fall 2020)

Abolition and Education Study Group

Dates: September 17, 2020, September 24,  2020, October 8, 2020, and October 15, 2020

Facilitator: Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading

Description: Members of the Study Group will consider abolition’s location in the Black Radical Tradition, be introduced to some of its frameworks and principles, and begin to become familiar with some of its commitments in the context of U.S. social and political movements, including education. Each meeting will be an engaging, meaningful discussion organized around powerful, dynamic readings. Participants will receive a syllabus and be provided with readings and other resources required for discussion.


Faculty Pedagogy Workshops

Open to all faculty in the School of Education, the pedagogy workshops provide resources and support, and encourage collective efforts across a range of pedagogical praxes.

Past Workshops

(Mis)fit: Reimagining and Restructuring Evaluation (February 9, 2021)

(Mis)fit: Reimagining and Restructuring Evaluation: A panel in dialogue with Rosemarie Garland-Thomson's article, "Misfits: A Feminist Materialist Disability Concept"

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Facilitator: Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading 

Panelists: T. Elon Dancy, II (Associate Dean for Equity and Justice) and Kirsten Edwards (Linda Clarke Anderson Presidential Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and a Faculty Fellow in the Office of the VP for Research & Partnerships at the University of Oklahoma)

Description: This panel is for all School of Education faculty members serving in evaluative roles over the course of the spring semester, related to any of the following: tenure and promotion; admissions; annual evaluations; faculty searches; reappointments. For questions, please contact Dr. Sabina Vaught at SVAUGHT@pitt.edu.

What are Anti-racism Approaches to Syllabus Development?

Date: November 19, 2020 | Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Facilitator: Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading 

Description: Anti-racism has rich and varied geographic, sociologic, and historic dimensions. How might we draw on those to consider ways to revise our syllabi? Please bring a syllabus to workshop! The session is for faculty at the Pitt School of Education. For questions, please contact Dr. Sabina Vaught at SVAUGHT@pitt.edu.

Pronoun Fluency: Creating More Equitable Classrooms Through Pronoun Usage

Pronoun Fluency: Creating More Equitable Classrooms Through Pronoun Usage

November 4, 2020 | Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Facilitated by Nino Testa, Associate Director of the Department of Women & Gender Studies at Texas Christian University (TCU), and Lindsay Throne Knight, (she/they), Director of the Intentional Dialogue Program, Assistant Director of the Leadership Center, and affiliate of the Women and Gender Studies Department and Gender Resource Office at Texas Christian University (TCU)

This workshop is designed to give faculty and staff an opportunity to develop familiarity with pronoun usage and strategies of address. Do you have questions about non-binary pronouns? Do you keep calling someone in your life by the wrong pronouns? Are you unsure how to talk to new people without gendering them? This workshop includes practical, hands-on opportunities to improve your knowledge or usage of pronouns, especially if you struggle to get other people’s pronouns right. We will also share best practices for inclusion of this information into syllabi and classroom settings. All genders and identities are welcome.

The session is for faculty and staff at the Pitt School of Education. For questions, please contact Dr. Elon Dancy at tedancy@pitt.edu.

Building a Living Syllabus

Building a Living Syllabus: A Faculty Syllabus Workshop

November 10, 2020 | 1 - 2:30 p.m.

Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading 

“A revolution by education requires a revolution in education,” writes Russell Rickford in We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination. In this online session, we ask how our syllabi in the Pitt School of Education can be sites for reimagining and restructuring a small part of the vast educational project. Join to learn about and discuss one model for engaging a living syllabus--a syllabus that unfolds through collective processes in the context of one course. Feel free to bring a syllabus in any stage of (re)development.

The session is for faculty at the Pitt School of Education. For questions, please contact Dr. Sabina Vaught at SVAUGHT@pitt.edu.


Faculty Workshops

Open to assistant professors, both tenure-stream and practice, in the School of Education, and by invitation to colleagues at other institutions, these Faculty Workshops provide professional development and career support to our faculty members.

Upcoming Workshops

Preparing for a Book Project (March 12, 2021)

Preparing for Your Book Project
Friday, March 12, 2021 | Noon - 4 p.m.
Featuring Kirsten Hextrum, PhD

REGISTER HERE

This retreat will focus on processes for writing and publishing a full-length book project. How do you begin to frame the ideas, scope, and organization? How do you anchor such a big project in knowledge traditions? Where and how do you look for models, seek feedback, and find a press? For questions, please contact Dr. Sabina Vaught at svaught@pitt.edu.

Guiding Quotation for the session:

“Leave the dishes...
...Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button...
...Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic--decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos...
...Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks...
...Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters this ruse you call necessity.”

―“Advice to Myself” by Louise Erdrich, Original Fire 

Past Workshops

Centering Reflection: Knowledge Traditions and Writing for Depth

Centering Reflection: Knowledge Traditions and Writing for Depth
Friday, September 18, 2020 | Noon - 5 p.m.

Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading 

The theme is “Centering Reflection: Knowledge Traditions and Writing for Depth.” The retreat will include a discussion of Angela Davis' influential article “Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves” from The Massachusetts Review. Throughout the afternoon there will be both whole-group discussion and one-on-one time.

Forging Relational Knowledges": Critical Co-Authoring

"Forging Relational Knowledges": Critical Co-Authoring
November 13, 2020 | Noon - 5 p.m.

Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Chair and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading ; Bryan M. J. Brayboy, (Lumbee), President's Professor and Senior Advisor to the President at Arizona State University; and Jeremiah Chin, PhD/JD, Assistant Professor of Law at St. Thomas University

We will "think about how engaging interdisciplinarity and forging relational knowledges assist in anti-colonial academic research and teaching while also disrupting biocentric scripts, disciplined ways of knowing, and the spatial workings of knowledge" (p. 4) — From our advance reading: Katherine McKittrick's "Diachronic loops-deadweight tonnage/bad made measure," cultural geographies, 2016. Bring a project or an idea.